I hate to even say this considering how high morale was following my last post but-
I’m back in the hospital. In fact, I’ve been here since Saturday. I felt absolutely fine on Friday, I was able to eat normally. Everything was just dandy and then boom, out of nowhere, uncooperative intestines.
Around 8:30am on Saturday as I drove home from my haircut I began to feel some abdominal discomfort. I figured I was just a little backed up and planned to put together the “let’s get movin'” cocktail of Miralax and Colace. My plan backfired as every attempt to drink fluids was met with violent vomiting shortly thereafter. My abdomen was rock hard and distended. Something was definitely not right.
My sweet Cory came to help me as I struggled to find comfort in my own skin. Finally, about twelve hours after the initial abdominal pain I called Sheila for advice and she confirmed my instinct to go to the emergency room.
The ER staff took me in quickly and made me more comfortable with an IV of fluids as well as Zofran and Dilaudid. After a physical examination of my protruding belly the ER doctor turned to me a most serious expression and said “This examination is very concerning. We’re going to send you for a CT scan”
What I didn’t know at the time is that everyone except for Cory and I suspected that I had a bowel perforation which would have been really bad and resulted in emergency surgery. Dr. Robison was on call and came right over ready to slice me open if need be. Of course, Sheila wasn’t working but left a party to join us in the ER because she’s just a good person.
We sent this picture to my Mom when breaking the news that I was in the hospital to ease her concerns. I look like death warmed over but I’ll put aside vanity for the sake of how adorable Dr. Robison and Sheila are right here.
The CT scan results returned and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when it turned out to just be a bowel obstruction and not perforation. My relief was short lived when we discussed next steps: the dreaded NG tube.
I’ve written about having an NG tube before. For those not familiar with its function- the NG tube is inserted into your nose and shoved downward until it reaches your stomach. While it is being inserted they have you drink water out of a straw to help naturally guide the tube in place. Ultimately it feels like you are drowning and it’s the worst. The tube’s purpose is to allow the bowel to rest by sucking out fluid/gastric juice.
The ER doctor knows first hand what pure torture it is to both place and receive an NG tube so she was kind enough to give me what I now fondly refer to as “the holy trinity”: Phenergan (for nausea), Dilaudid (for pain), and Ativan( for anxiety). I remember all of the tube being inserted but nothing after it. I slept until the next morning with no memory of the multiple x-rays they did or moving to the 4th floor as an admitted patient.
I woke up the next morning, throat raw and irritated, and noticed that the end of the tube was clamped and not attached to anything? Confused I asked Cory what had happened. Double confused I asked him again because I forgot that I asked him the first time (thank you holy trinity). What a patient man…
It turns out that the tube was inserted properly but due to my hiatal hernia, it coiled up and did not stay in the stomach. Here is a visual to demonstrate how the hernia complicates things:
The doctors later told me that I had fluid all the way up to my esophagus so it was still good that we inserted the NG tube because they were initially able to drain a lot out. Ultimately the NG tube was removed yesterday morning and we made a deal- if I didn’t throw up without the tube it could stay out. Luckily, I was able to do that and confirmed this morning during rounds that there will not be another NG tube going in.
Today marks day three in the hospital and we are slowly making progress. I am still NPO (no food or drink by mouth) but have graduated to a small amount of ice chips. They were considering clear liquids today but after listening to my belly, the bowel sounds were still too sluggish. Fingers crossed that tomorrow, maybe just maybe, I can have a few sips of apple juice.
It’s so strange how these things can happen out of the blue. One day I’m feeling 100% the next I’m in a hospital bed. So bizarre.
I want to thank my parents for driving three hours and staying overnight to make sure I was okay. They are currently cleaning my apartment because they are thoughtful and extraordinary human beings. Looking forward their visit later in the day.
I also want to thank another extraordinary human being, Cory. He jumped in his car and drove two hours to be with me without question. He was calm and reassuring even though it was probably scary for him too. The poor guy never left my side and slept in a chair at my bedside all night that first night. How did I get so lucky?
Thinking positive thoughts for a speedy recovery so I can nom nom nom happily once again and get back to work!